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India's 10 richest people

Last updated on: November 19, 2009 14:05 IST

Image: Mukesh Ambani with wife Nita.
Photographs: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters Rediff Business Desk

Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani is the richest man in India with $32 billion in net worth followed by steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal and younger brother Anil Ambani, according to the Forbes' annual rich list for the country.

The nation is now home to 52 dollar-billionaires, up from 27 last year, and only two short of what India had at the peak of its stock market boom in 2007.

"Happier days are here again for India's super rich, thanks to a rebounding stock market, up two-thirds in the past year, and a still buoyant economy that's growing at least 6 per cent a year," the business magazine said.

Though the top 10 positions remain largely unchanged, there are some shifts in fortunes across the list. Sunil Mittal has moved down from number 4 to number 8 and Azim Premji has moved up to Number 4 position.

Another notable mention is Nandan Nilekani who has stepped down from Infosys board and is now a part of government. He ranks 43 with a net worth of $1.25 billion. Southern India's TV king, Kalanithi Maran, ranked 20, almost doubled his net worth to $2.3 billion from $1.2 billion.

To know about the top 10 wealthy Indians in the Forbes' list, read on. . .

1. Mukesh Ambani: Net worth $32 billion

Chief of oil and gas conglomerate Reliance Industries, Mukesh Ambani is fighting a legal battle with his estranged younger brother Anil, over an agreement to supply gas at a price 44 per cent below the government-mandated price.

The battle took a nasty turn in August with each accusing the other of foul play. Case is now being heard before the Supreme Court.


India's 10 richest people

Image: L N Mittal, chairman and CEO, ArcelorMittal
Photographs: Chaiwat Subprasom/Reuters

2. L N Mittal: Net worth $30 billion

Owner of ArcelorMittal, this business tycoon has stake in British soccer team QPR. Mittal is looking to invest in Brazil, India and West Asia. He owns 12-bedroom mansion in London's posh Kensington area.

Steel group's workers attacked its Luxembourg headquarters during its annual shareholders meeting in May to protest temporary layoffs during slump.

Megha Mittal, wife of his only son, Aditya, who is steel group's financial director, recently bought the insolvent German fashion house Escada.

India's 10 richest people

Image: Anil Ambani.
Photographs: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters

3. Anil Ambani: Net worth $17.5 billion

The chief of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group never seems to grow tired of waging war against his elder brother Mukesh.

The confrontation between the two took an ugly turn when Anil alleged that the petroleum ministry was partial to Mukesh's Reliance Industries in their gas supply dispute. Government, however, refuted the charge. A legal battle is on at the Supreme Court.

In an audit of Anil Ambani's Reliance Communications, the company was charged with underpaying license fees to the government. RCom denied the charge.

In July, ADAG's entertainment wing sealed a deal to invest $825 million with Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks Studios.

India's 10 richest people

Image: Azim Premji.
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi

4. Azim Premji: Net worth $14.9 billion

The software czar's company Wipro recorded a major turnaround when it reported a 19 per cent jump in net profits in the last quarter.

Wipro recently signed a $500-million, nine-year contract from Unitech Wireless. Company's consumer care division bought Asian business of personal care brand Yardley from UK's Lornamead.

India's 10 richest people

Image: Shashi Ruia.

5. Shashi & Ravi Ruia: Net worth $13.6 billion

Ruia-owned Essar Group is looking for major expansions in all its businesses, including steel, oil and power. Essar Oil bought 50 per cent in Kenya Petroleum Refineries in July and is negotiating with Royal Dutch Shell to acquire three refineries.

The duo is also attempting to raise $925 million, using part of their 33 per cent stake in Vodafone Essar as collateral. They recently withdrew their $150-million bid to take over Australian coal firm Rocklands Richfield.

India's 10 richest people

Image: Kushal Pal Singh.

6. Kushal Pal Singh: Net worth $13.5 billion

Chairman of DLF faced hard times recently as the global economic crisis hit India's realty sector. However, this property company's stocks rebounded 58 per cent this year.

The developer went for major price cuts to woo buyers earlier this year. In May, the Pal Singh family sold nearly 10 per cent of its DLF stake for $834 million.

India's 10 richest people

Image: Savitri Jindal.

7. Savitri Jindal: Net worth $12 billion

She is the non-executive chair of O P Jindal Group who took over the reigns of the steel and power conglomerate founded by her late husband Om Prakash in 1952.

Took over as group head after he died in a helicopter crash in 2005.

She recently got reelected in the assembly elections in Haryana.

India's 10 richest people

Image: Sunil Mittal.

8. Sunil Mittal: Net worth $8.2 billion

Bharti Airtel recently faced a major setback when Sunil Mittal's bid to pull off a mega-merger with MTN collapsed in September after months of negotiations.

Incidentally, Bharti also backed out of a deal to take over MTN in 2008.

Group's joint venture with Wal-Mart launched its first cash and carry store in Chandigarh in May.

India's 10 richest people

Image: Kumar Mangalam Birla.

9. Kumar Mangalam Birla: Net worth $7.8 billion

Head of commodities conglomerate Aditya Birla Group has his hands full with a move to restructure group's cement business.

If successful, the deal will create India's biggest cement company and the world's 10th largest. Idea Cellular, the group's telecom unit, is heavily on to an ongoing price war.

India's 10 richest people

Image: Gautam Adani.

10. Gautam Adani: Net worth $6.4 billion

Chairman of the Adani Group raised $652 million in August by taking Adani Power public.

He plans to raise $325 million more through a rights issue of Adani Enterprises to invest in coal mining.